Your Health Begins in Your Womb!
My holistic health journey began at the age of 10 years old when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was the first person I saw take ownership of her health and her healing. I remember having unpasteurized apple juice, echinacea and an aloe vera plant in our home regularly. I knew at the age of ten, that unpasteurized apple juice was healthier than the main brand, that echinacea supported my immune health and that aloe vera was a plant used to heal cuts and bruises. This awareness was by far one of the greatest gifts my mother gave me; the belief that I have agency in my health and that the earth offers all I need to care for and heal the body. I used this philosophy to discover and understand my health and what my body needed to thrive; the healing power of holistic medicine is liberating and empowering. As I began to deepen my own understanding of holistic health, I found myself engaging in conversations with those closest to me about their health issues and possible solutions. This passion has grown to a community level of sharing resources and knowledge.
Although I had the awareness and understanding of holistic health and medicine at an early age, my self-care journey started much later in life- mainly due to constant burnout and exhaustion from the twists and turns of my life. At the age of 28, I made a private and semi-public declaration to “completely change my life.” This change included physical spaces, emotional connections, spiritual practices, my financial wellbeing, career options and most importantly, how I cared for myself through these transitions. There are a few major factors that made this declaration a reality after 3 years of “doing the work” (personal development): 1) I got a life coach (honestly one of the best decisions of my adult life); 2) I mastered setting boundaries and 3) I began a regular practice of Chinese acupuncture and herbs. In addition to these choices, I became very interested in food and herbal therapies and what my body needed to feel good and healthy.
At 30 years old, my holistic health and self-care journeys intersected and became a newly adopted lifestyle- my “new normal.” The idea of motherhood was a serious consideration and I became acutely interested in my womb health, and the womb-story of my family. This thought process lead me into a series of untold stories and conversations about womb health and history. The knowledge I discovered both enlightened and infuriated me; I was grateful to have the information and angry that it was never shared before that moment. It was at this point that I began sharing my self-care/self love/holistic health journey publicly and the community began to view me as a resource on the topics.
My journey of womb wellness deepened in 2016 when I learned that three very significant women in my life were pregnant and expected to deliver in 2017. Each of these women wanted me to participate in their labor/birth process actively, and coincidentally I had the desire to be a doula for about five years. These three women gave me the push I needed to start my doula training. As a doula in training, I have supported four mothers in the prenatal, labor, postpartum process.
When I first started discussions about women’s reproductive health, I intended to illuminate the "un-had" conversations between generations. Largely, to help women to make the connection between their womb health and the health of the wombs in their families. I wanted to create safe spaces to have the seemly uncomfortable conversations about our wombs and the wombs of the women in our families. Also, I realized that women rarely have public discussions about their reproductive health and often are misinformed or unaware of the reproductive health resources available to them. In all cases, my sincere intention is always to activate or reactivate the belief in the healing power of the woman. I strive to share information that supports healthy wombs and periods because I believe healthy wombs create healthy pregnancies.
In the many conversations I’ve engaged about womb wellness, there are two topics that I think are extremely important to highlight for Women of Color (WOC):
1) Fibroids impact WOC at a disproportionate rate, specifically African American women. 25% of all women by age 40 will experience fibroids; however, 50% of African American women over age 30 experience fibroids compared to 20% of white women. There are many reasons for this fact, many of them are connected to the lifestyle and culture in the United States. It is important to highlight that women of the African diaspora that live outside of the US do not experience fibroids at the same rate as African American women in the US. Two factors can support women who experience fibroids: early detection and regulating hormonal imbalances. Some early signs of fibroids include backache, frequent urination or feeling bloated in the womb area. It is equally important to highlight that women have the agency to balance their hormones by eating foods that are high in vitamin B, taking evening primrose capsules, incorporating ginger and cinnamon in their diets and using castor oil and lavender oil to rub the womb area.
2) Having a strong birth partner is essential for all women because laboring mothers deserve to have someone who advocates for her, soothes and comforts her and offers companionship in the process. Often a doula is this person for both the laboring mother and the other expecting parent/partner. I invite WOC to explore the option of a doula regardless of their preferred birthing environment because doulas are available for home and hospital births. Doulas can support prenatal care by trimester, labor options, hospital rights and advocacy, breastfeeding/ lactation support, and postnatal healing.
Written by: Jasmine Thompson, Co-Founder and Womb Guru